By Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware
AFRO Managing Editor

In very different ways, more than 30 faith leaders of the Maryland community made a formal endorsement of the Honorable Kweisi Mfume to once again represent Maryland’s 7th District in Congress. The gathering, well not a gathering due to constraints imposed by COVID19, was held on Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live. And rather than by consensus with one voice, the Rev. Kevin Slayton, who hosted the event, called the roll as each minister enthusiastically spoke their support.

The Reverends Karen Bethea, Set the Captives Free; Frances “Toni”Draper, Freedom Temple AMEZ, David B. Franklin, Miracle City Seventh Day Adventist Church; Anthony Hunt, Epworth Chapel; Franklin Lance, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church; Kenneth Robinson, DreamLife Worship Center and Tamara England Wilson, Nu Season Nu Day Church, were among the first to speak.

Thirty of the state’s most prominent faith leaders and pastors joined Kweisi Mfume on Zoom to endorse his candidacy for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. (Courtesy Photo)

They each, in their own way, referenced the great need for wisdom and strong spiritual leadership at this point in history.

In addition to lending support, the Rev. Harold A. Carter Jr. declared Mfume to be more than in good standing in his home church, New Shiloh Baptist Church in west Baltimore. 

“We know that he is well proved and well proven. His wisdom. His seniority. His integrity. His intellect. The list goes on and on. All of this allows him to shine above the rest,” Mfume’s pastor said.

“His voice is needed and is necessary. He will be the voice for the voiceless. He will fight for and make right health disparities. And so the 7th Congressional District needs him,” Rev. Carter said, adding,

“And the kingdom of God needs him. Let’s just make it happen. Let’s send Brother Kweisi Mfume back to Washington.”

It was the Rev. Zelda Childs, pastor of Christ UM Church in Howard County, who gave the official endorsement for the group. “I remember him standing for us in so many ways and at so many junctures. I know him to be a man of integrity, who cannot be bought and will not sell out his constituents,” Rev. Childs said.

“He does the work in support of the 7th District. Worked to lower prescription drug costs, voted to band assault weapons and worked to build safer communities. We know Kweisi is for us and that’s why we’re for him.”

And they were joined by Facebook viewers like Ronald N. Flamer, who said he was proud to support the Mfume campaign with his “time, talent and treasure.”

Hope Jackson said, “Since 1975, I have seen his work be consistent in my life.”

Rev. Slayton also gave instruction for the mail-in ballot currently being received by 7th District residents. It was emphasized simply, “Fill in the oval to signify your choice. Look on the back of the envelope. Sign it. Date it. Seal it. Mail it.” And in true social media fashion, “Take a picture dropping it in the mail box and post them using the hashtag #BelieversToTheBox.”

Mfume responded with appreciation for the multiple statements of support, knowing how much their constituents, he said, “Look to and appreciate faith leadership. And my campaign has tried to exemplify that.

“I began this campaign after a great deal of prayer, my wife and I, and discussion with family members. We wanted this to be God’s will, not our will. I am not a perfect servant, but I’m a public servant,” he said.

He referenced COVID19 and how Black communities are being disproportionately affected, as in most things. “So many of our people have already been suffering in so many ways that our bodies’ systems cannot fight as they one time did,” Mfume said. 

“Our people are in jobs where they’re not able to telework,” he said so their jobs demand their presence of they lose those jobs. He added that for the last four or five days he’s gotten word that people he knows have died from the virus.

“We have an obligation in this time of great need and great fear, to yield to God and ask for help at this time.”